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'We can help!' - A literature review of current practice involving traditional African healers in biomedical HIV/AIDS interventions in South Africa

Year: 2005
Working paper number: 108
Author: Wreford, Joanne
Unit: ASRU
Abstract:

This review describes the available research literature involved with efforts at collaboration between Traditional African Healers (TAHs) and biomedical practitioners in HIV/AIDS interventions in Southern Africa. The paper draws on academic texts including published and unpublished research papers, books and reports, and press comments on the subject. The focus is on Southern African literature, but selected texts from elsewhere on the continent are also included. The paper interrogates, in particular, the roles assigned to more spiritually inspired practitioners, such as sangoma, in these interventions. The paper considers the effects on relationships between biomedicine and the traditional health sector and explores some of the obstacles in the way of successful future collaborations. The analysis addresses the following questions: What are the roles assigned to sangoma and other traditional health practitioners in biomedically constructed HIV/AIDS interventions to date? What has been the experience of sangoma and traditional health practitioners of these interventions, and how have biomedical professionals involved in these interventions responded to the traditional health practitioners? What factors contribute to negative responses where these occur, and how might these be addressed? Could the roles of sangoma and traditional health practitioners be enhanced to improve the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS interventions?


Publication file: wp108.pdf
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